Working Moms Inspiration from Oprah's O You!
“ Your attitude will determine your altitude.”
—Samantha Ettus
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  • The Bestselling Woman Behind What to Expect When You’re Expecting

    by Samantha Ettus

    With all of the hoopla about the just released What to Expect When You’re Expectingmovie, the Jennifer Lopez andCameron Diaz fronted ensemble film, it is easy to forget the woman who started it all. Heidi Murkoff has sold more than 40 Million books yet she has no assistant, no product spinoffs and won’t accept advertising on her website. It is hard to even find a link to her books from the home page. This is hardly what we envision when we think of the woman behind the most successful book franchise in self-help history.

    I had the chance to connect with the unassuming first lady of pregnancy yesterday. Murkoff’s two children, Emma and Wyatt, are now 29 and 26. She completed the first book when she was pregnant with Emma 30 years ago. When I ask Murkoff if she has achieved her dreams she responds, “I actually don’t think in terms of dreams – which sort of implies sitting around waiting to be visited by good fortune – I think in terms of missions.” Murkoff sees her mission more on Forbes…


    Working Moms and Their New Mr. Rights

    by Samantha Ettus
    When I arrived at Mom 2.0 Summit last week I was surrounded by leaders and influencers in the mom space. I had just written about the New Mr. Right so husbands were on my mind but it turned out that they were on other minds too.

    First up was cocktail hour where I met a couple of high power single women and we talked about why the new Mr. Right needs to be part of the equation. And then, a conversation with a woman I have long admired who shared her own story of marrying Mr. Wrong. It took health issues and years of exploration for her to get rid of the negative and unhelpful man that had hijacked her spirit and her home. Her story was uplifting because she is now more powerful and happier than ever before, no longer controlled by more on Forbes…


    Olympic Mom: Summer Sanders on Sleep, Marriage and Magic

    by Samantha Ettus

    Each time I have worked with Olympic athlete, Summer Sanders, I have been inspired by her life as a former gold medalist turned TV personality and mother. In this interview, she shared with me an unusually candid look into how she manages her life as a working mom.

    You and your husband both work. How do you manage it together?
    It took a while to find our dual career groove, but I have to say we really focus on Team. Erik and I stopped keeping score a long time ago because it never leads anywhere positive.  When we get overwhelmed we try to refocus on family happiness as our goal.

    How do you cope with mommy guilt?
    I used to have really bad mommy guilt.  I would cry and my heart would actually hurt. Last winter, I would tear up when I saw a pillow pet in the airport when I was traveling for work.  Now I don’t feel the more on Forbes…


    Hot Potato Mom Exploits Child in Vogue Magazine and We Pay

    by Samantha Ettus

    Starving a 7-year-old is child abuse even when it’s cloaked in the beautiful pages of Vogue.

    While Mad Men’s 1960s misogyny had center stage this week, Vogue Magazine found a way to steal it. The fashion bible came out yesterday with a first person account by Dara-Lynn Weiss, a troubled mother who drove her 7-year-old daughter towards a 16 pound weight loss, sometimes depriving her of dinner when she had “too big” a lunch and starving her on and off for a year. And while readers and media were gaping in horror, she was running around town securing a publishing deal, so now she has an even bigger audience to preach to with her misdirected war against fat.  I picture her leapfrogging from a soulless fashion editor to a soulless book editor. Apparently they are easy to find.

    As a mom I am saddened and as a Random House author, I am appalled. (Weiss landed a book deal with the same publishing house that published my books.) But who is to blame? Is it Anna Wintour and her total disregard for her editorial responsibility to publish accurate information? Is it Random House for the same sin? Is it Michelle Obama’s war on obesity more on Forbes…


    When a Professional High and a Personal Low Collide: A Working Mom’s Nightmare

    by Samantha Ettus

    When I heard the story, I instinctively covered my mouth in shock. Nada Jones was describing every working mom’s biggest fear come to life. It was the night of her big launch. Her women entrepreneurs’ conferencewas kicking off in one hour and she was getting her hair done in preparation. While the hair dryer was buzzing in her ear, she held the phone up to the other and heard her husband’s words: “Don’t worry. Everything will be okay…” She burst into tears. As she tells it, at that moment she knew that it wasn’t.

    Her 8-year-old daughter, Sophia, had broken her arm falling off the monkey bars. She was in the emergency room. Nada was minutes away from addressing hundreds of women at the conference that evening and the next morning the first full day would begin.

    Nada’s working mom “Choose Your Own Adventure” moment had arrived. More on Forbes…


    Guilt to Great: A Working Mom’s Battle

    by Samantha Ettus

    My heart sank. The winter musical that my five-year-old daughter had been talking about non-stop, was scheduled for the same day I was to speak at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. I had committed to this speaking engagement more than six months earlier and there was no turning back. My excitement about the 8,000 women event was quickly replaced with tremendous guilt.

    For the next week, every time Ella practiced her songs, I relived the sick feeling – the nausea I experienced when I thought of sharing the news: That her mom wouldn’t be in the audience that day. I needed a plan. My husband and I spun in circles. He would get to the show early, he would get a great seat, he would record it. It wasn’t enough. In the many shapes and sizes of mommy guilt, this was Mount Everest.

    On Friday I dropped Ella off at Kindergarten and cried. More on Forbes…


    5 Ways To Close The “Ambition Gap” For Girls

    by Samantha Ettus

    Would it surprise you to hear that a future CEO had the following background? She enjoyed weekly manicures with her mother starting at age four, spent her days playing princess dress-up, was not regularly around professional women, and was not told she could achieve anything she put her mind to. Surprised? Yes, it would surprise me too.

    In her speech at World Economic Forum at Davos, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, one of the most powerful women and working moms in the world, talked of an “ambition gap” in how we are raising young girls versus boys. She didn’t point her fingers at corporations or at advertisers, but at parents and how we are raising our daughters and sons.

    I can’t stop thinking about this – not because it is new – but because of Sandberg’s brilliant label for what is unfolding around us.  What are we doing to contribute to the ambition gap and what are we doing to halt it? More on Forbes…


    Tim Tebow, Soledad O’Brien and My Not So Pretty Balancing Act

    by Samantha Ettus

    Last Thursday was a fun day at work. I got a call from CNN just as I was cooking dinner with my husband, inviting me to talk about the allure ofTim Tebow’s personal brand – a topic right in my sweet spot. And onSoledad O’Brien’s new show, no less. She is one of my favorites.

    We already had a big night planned – we ate with our three kids, then the babysitter arrived so that we could head to the premiere of the new Kathleen Turner show at the Geffen Theater. We skipped the after-party so I could get a good night of sleep before CNN sent the 4 am car to pick me up and head to the studio. I nailed the segment, came home and was back in bed before anyone had woken up.

    Sounds great, right? Yet as any working mom knows, it is a lot more complicated than that. Here is what happened behind the scenes more on Forbes…


    25 Alarm Bells for Women: Sounds from Miss Representation

    Blake Lively as Carol Ferris in Green Lantern.

    by Samantha Ettus

    Last night I watched Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s chilling documentary about the media’s portrayal of women and its impact on young girls and boys. Sitting on the edge of my seat, my mind raced with what to do next. Jennifer’s action was to spread the word. My first action is to help her.

    Here are 25 of the most startling alarm bells and quotes from this must-see documentary – now being shown on OWN:


    1. American teenagers spend more than 10 hours a day consuming media, most of it filled with content that objectifies women and distorts their bodies.

    2. 53% of 12 year old girls feel unhappy with their bodies, 78% of 17 year old girls feel unhappy with their bodies and 65% of women and girls have an eating disorder.

    3. Rates of depression among girls and women have more on Forbes…


    Charlie Sheen: Don’t Make Him an American Idol

    Image by Getty Images via @daylifeby Samantha Ettus

    Let’s review Charlie Sheen’s personal brand: TV star, drug addict, repeat domestic violence offender, and father of five with a penchant for prostitutes.

    Put this way, isn’t it weird that you are following him on Twitter and spending your precious evenings watching him on ABC’s 20/20?

    If you are enjoying this moment, you are being bamboozled by the new brand of Charlie Sheen. Jeff Jarvis makes a strong case for why the media shouldn’t interview Charlie: “Nuts aren’t news.” And now I too implore you to stop watching, following and quoting Sheen in the same way you recite lines from Spinal Tap. With Charlie Sheen reaching one million Twitter followers in record time, it is no longer just the media enabling Sheen; we are enabling him too.

    In the early days, Sheen enjoyed a James Dean-ish red carpet image, but he gradually began to take on the persona of Ozzy Osbourne during his bad boy heyday. And now he has gone completely dark – hitting unprecedented lows even for the notoriously forgiving more on Forbes…